One year ago today, we opened The Livingston Inn as a bed and breakfast in the historic William T. Leitch House in Madison. We did a ton of work leading up to the opening and knew much more was coming. Reflecting back, I must say the first year was different than we expected but undoubtedly was a successful one in so many ways.
Some of the best experiences:
- The opportunity to meet so many amazing people. It may sound a little obvious, perhaps clichéd, but we never expected every week and every new guest to come to us with interesting lives, often with a unique story to share.
- The joy of sharing this historic home with our guests. It’s interesting to see what each guest takes from the experience. Some love the history, others take in the architecture, and many simply enjoy all the comforts we offer as a bed and breakfast.
- The accessibility to walk downtown and to State Street, both for us and our guests. From the first UW-Nebraska game to weekly Farmer’s Markets, Overture Center performances, alumni events, and the many, many festivals, races, and special events.
- Special events at The Livingston Inn. Some notable ones were our Grand Opening, the Century Dinner, and The Entertainers with the Wisconsin Film Festival.
- The best builder, plumber, and electrician we could ask for. Each has been very patient, understanding our long-term goals to preserve this important piece of Madison history.
- The opportunity to meet descendants of prior owners such as Nils Haugen and Gordy and Dolly Harman. These wonderful people have graciously welcomed us to this beautiful house and share both memories and memorabilia (our heartfelt thanks to all of them for saving articles, photos, and even furniture to bring back to the history of this home). Simply said, they are family to us.
- A great neighborhood. Madison is known for all of its friendly neighborhoods, and ours is no exception. The neighbors on our street are some of the most wonderful people we could ask for (and, yes, we sometimes need to stop in for a cup of sugar!). In addition, the residents of the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood in which we reside have welcomed us to neighborhood meetings and have been among the best guest referrals. We also love our neighborhood businesses and appreciate all of their encouragement and advice as we launch our business.
- Holidays. Halloween was a blast with our zombie, graveyard, and spooky music emanating from the cupola. We enjoyed Christmas and the winter holidays with a ten-foot tree and wreaths in all of the windows, bringing back the Harman tradition of a tree in every window.
As we turn to the next year, we are looking forward to all of the above and more. Starting next week, for example, our back garden will get its second makeover, and we are excited about the number of events planned, both for guests and for the public, to add to the experience of this house and its important place in the City of Madison.
Our many, many thanks again to guests, friends, neighbors, advisors, and all others for supporting The Livingston Inn during its first year. Cheers to all of you!